Tom Sholz said in the liner notes of “Third Stage” that without Brad Delp’s vocals, it just wouldn’t have been a Boston album. He was right. It took 3(!) different vocalists blended together to approximate Brad Delp’s vocals on this album and the songs suffer from it. Fran Cosmo (of Barry Goudreau’s solo projects) has taken over the lead vocals of this album and does a servicable job, but it just doesn’t sound right. Something is missing from each of these songs besides Brad. While each song has great moments of that classic Boston sound, each has an element that brings the song down a notch or two. “I Need Your Love” is sheer Boston, and you almost don’t miss Brad Delp’s voice. “Surrender To Me” has a classic Boston chorus with wonderful harmonies, but the song is marred by a rhythmic THUD throughout the song. “What’s Your Name” is a pretty decent song as well, even though every time it starts, I think I am listening to “Bette Davis Eyes.” Overall, this album suffers from being overproduced. It sounds as if Tom intentionally mixed down the vocals so you couldn’t tell that it wasn’t Brad singing, and it makes everything sound like mush. Most of the songs sound like generic rock tunes done in a Boston style, which is too bad. Way back when “Third Stage” was in production, Tom was conducting blind tests using different singers with varied success. He should have redirected his energy into convincing Brad to return.
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Boston can lay claim to take the blame – or the credit – for the swathe of stadium rock that washed over America in the late seventies. The release of Boston’s debut album in 1976, paved the way for such bands as Reo Speedwagon, Journey, and Styx, to follow in the masters’ footsteps. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, you cannot fail to admire them for pure musical skill. Boston was the vehicle for Tom Scholz to become the Godfather of Pomp Rock, in his early years better known for his prowess on the basketball pitch. However, he gave up enough of his time trying to make the hoops to score big time on the field of rock `n’ roll.Boston’s debut album sold over 17 million copies and had a top five single with ‘More Than A Feeling’. The second album ‘Don’t Look Back’ was released two years later, sold 7 million copies and had a top thirty hit with the title track of the album. This was followed six years later by Third Stage (1986), which sold 4 million and did not yield a hit single. The next album, the one under scrutiny here, was a further eight years in the making. ‘Walk On’ sold 1 million copies and none of the singles bothered the Billboard top fifty. Does anybody notice a pattern developing here? So, what is ‘Walk On’ like? Well, it’s a bit half and half. If you are a first time buyer of Boston and the magical sound scapes made by Tom Scholz and his team, then you would be better off buying the first album, or at a pinch the Greatest Hits collection, but, as Greatest Hits go, that album’s tracks seemed to have been picked with a pin rather than on merit. `Walk On’ starts off in fine style with a classy slice of Boston. ‘I Need Your Love’ is a good emotional song that catches you off guard as does the first thrashing chords of Tom Scholz’ multi layered guitar. New vocalist Fran Cosmo, a sound-alike for previous vocalist Brad Delp, proves he more than adequately fills those boots. Tom Scholz plays all the instruments needed in the studio, only picking up sidemen to go out on the road. That’s pretty impressive considering the standard of musical skills on display, but no wonder it took him so long between albums. The multi layered guitar tracks alone would of tested the patience of any normal mortal. So maybe it was better that perfectionist Scholz did all his own work, only needing a throat to put on the voices.’Surrender To Me’ is over five minutes of head bangin’ Boston rock, really showing off the guitar orchestra style patented by Scholz. Next is the album’s obligatory power ballad which Fran Cosmo sings with such pathos, the lyrics just have to come from the heart or Fran is just an old ham. This is followed by over twelve minutes of the glorious title track, probably the best thing ever done by Boston (including everything on the first album).Split into four parts, ‘Walk on’ is really just a good old excuse for Tom Scholz to show off his ability on guitar and keyboards, and his feel for writing a good chorus. Part one, ‘Walkin’ By Night’, is a Blitzkrieg power blast on guitar with all the amps turned up to eleven. As Tom Scholz says in the liner notes “Some people take their dog for a walk at night, some people walk their guitar”. Part two brings in the chorus – and plain and simple – it just rocks. The stadium hoards would wait for the opening guitar riff, before going totally ape (album sales may have dropped in the eighties, the very name “Boston” would immediately sell out any arena). Part three, subtitled ‘Get Organ-ized’, is exactly as the title suggests, a frantic workout on keyboards, and suffice to say a Hammond B-3 is a big organ with a big sound. Part four is more of the same from part two, only louder, harder, and longer. It finishes up with a frantic musical orgasm of sound. Well worth the eight year wait between products for the first four tracks, but (there’s always a but) the final three tracks see Scholz and his co-horts totally lose the plot. The three tracks take up fifteen minutes of playing time and leave you with a nasty taste in the ears. Just musical fodder to fill up the album. It sounds like Boston playing music in a similar fashion to paint by numbers, or join the dots. Total dross and a very disappointing end to the album. But (there’s sometimes yet another but) turn the C.D. back to the title track and all is forgiven.In 2004 the pattern continues, ten years after ‘Walk On’, Boston released their next album ‘Corporate America’. So far sales have not reached 1/2 a million. I doubt they bothered releasing a single.Scattered by Mott The DogSettled by Ella Crew
When people think of music by Boston, most of them think about songs from the seventies, such as “More Than A Feeling” and “Don’t Look Back”. However, “Walk On”, released in the mid-nineties, is very good in its own right and deserves mention of its own along with the earlier Boston cds. At the front of the band in the seventies was Brad Delp, who’s multi-octave voice brought life to all of the earlier songs. However, Brad decided to leave the group before the release of “Walk On” and was relpaced by Fran Cosmo, who does a very good job in his own right handling the lead vocals on this cd.
Boston’s trademarks were excellent guitar work, loud drums, cool synthesizer and organ play, and, of course, strong lead and harmony vocals. Nothing’s changed. All of these earlier aspects of Boston’s success are evident on this cd as well. Tencho-wizard Tom Scholz and his band have once again combined all of these factors into this disc, and the result is a combination of great rock and roll songs.
Each song on the disc is excellent. Fran’s voice shines through on “I Need Your Love” and “Livin For You”. Songs such as “Surrender To Me” and “Walk On” showcase the great guitar, synthesizer, and drum work which made Boston famous. But there is one song on this disc that stands above the rest in my opinion: “Magdaline”. Fran Cosmo sounds better than ever on this song, and the harmony vocals are some of the best I’ve heard from Boston.
I’ve been a fan of Boston for many years and I’ve listened to all of their early and later cds. This disc deserves to be mentioned as one of their best. All of the aspects that made Boston a supergroup are evident on this cd, and even with the loss of Brad Delp, the band doesn’t miss a beat. Pick up this great cd and experience the progression of one of the supergroups of the seventies to one of the best groups of the nineties.
Review no. 69. Follow-up to Boston’s ‘Third Stage’ album (see my review). Obviously their fourth lp in eighteen (18) years. I’m giving it a 3 1/2 star rating because after listening to this CD twice in one night, I believe Tom Scholz and crew gave this disc a full hearted effort. Tunes here that sort of grow on you are “Surrender To Me”, “Walking At Night” (now, this is like the trademark arena rocking Boston I remember), title track “Walk On” and well written “What’s Your Name”, Maybe not a classic, but still worth checking out.
Wow. Walk on – to me, this is by the greatest, hard – rocking album i’ve ever heard in the 90’s. This powerfull album, released by the rock master, BOSTON, blew me away! I thought it would be some pop – crap punk album from the melodic rock genre (after all, I read these people’s reviews. What kind of lame ass crap are they pulling?!) The main disapointment in this album for critics was Brad Delp’s disaperance. But, that is not true – on page 7 of the booklet, it clearly states that Brad is in the entire Walk On medley, and wrote many songs. You can’t deny that, unless your an oaf. Walk on is a great mix of music all throughout the album. Fran Cosmo is great vocalist, and with Bradley, they both rock the album throughout its tracks. And here they are:I Need Your Love – this song is a great rocker that represents the emotional side of Boston. It has a great jam part in the beginning, which really caught my attention. Fran Cosmo rocks.Surrender To Me – Boston hits the peak with this hard rocking yet melodic track. It was a major disapointment to me that this didn’t make the greatest hits. It has an amazing chorus and funky lyrics throughout its great guitar rifts.Living For You – Amazing. Simply amazing. This beuatiful, melodic ballad is stunning to your ears. It is perfectly decorated with keyboards and guitars, and Fran sings it perfectly.Walkin’ At Night – This short, rockin’ track is the most hard core track on the album. Go Tom Scholz!Walk On – Ohhh man! Is that hard core rock or what? This track gave me shivers down my back when I first heard it. Get your train on the track!!!Get Organ – ized – This track is another stunning instrumental with powerful, no amazing organ and guitar jam sessions throughout its 4 minutes and 28 seconds. A stunning, electric drum oriented rocker!Walk on Part two – Second verse, same as the first! This identical version of track 5 still rocks incredibally hard, with extreme vocal intensity all around. Man is this good!What’s Your Name – This beuatiful, harmony laden ballad is both powerful and funky ( lyricwise ). Fran really gets to show of his vocal talent here.Magdelene – This beuatiful, emotianally intense rocker peaks the album when it comes to harmony. It has a conspicuously beuatifully chorus, with an amazing jam session. One hell of a rocker.We Can Make It – This sweet, powerfull ballad is melodic rock at its fullest. It has amazing, soothing vocals, spectacular bass guitars and the most powerfull jam session in the album. A great masterpiece of a closing song for the album.Well, that covers it all. This album is amazing in emotional intensity and hard core rock. Brad Delp, Fran Cosmo, Tom Scholz, Cedro Sikes, Doug Hoffman, Gary Phil, and Curly Smith are amazing musicians. Walk On Rocks!